The beginning of each piece is a leap of faith; jumping in to make the first mark, with an idea or without an idea, it may feel random. After that, the listening and responding begins. A meditation cushion in my studio faces the piece I'm working on. When I'm not sure what comes next, I have a seat to look and wait. It's a conversation. My job is to tune in to such a degree that trust blooms -- at that level, there are no random marks!
The layering of text, direct drawing, transparent prints and painting is one of the ways I weave together visual decisions and meaningful content. I create silkscreen and solar plate prints from drawings or photographs I've made in the field. I print them onto rice paper, and collage them into the surface of the painting, with previous layers showing through. Layering allows for ambiguous or dreamlike aspects of reality, and an element of time, to slip in. Recently, I've been glueing selected ripped-up pages of books on meditation as foundations for my paintings; the text works on two levels, visually and content-wise. Even though the text often becomes obscured by drawing and painting, it’s an important layer in the build-up of the character of these pieces.
After college, Christy Hengst set off westward in a station wagon with a bunch of gessoed panels, a cigar box full of oil sticks, and a bed in the back. She visited people and painted all along the way until eventually landing in Santa Fe, NM. There she met her future husband and creative partner, German blacksmith Helmut Hillenkamp. Together they have collaborated on many public and private projects, including raising two kids.
Sense of place has been a major theme in Christy Hengst’s work. Site-specific public pieces have included a treasure hunt circle of paintings in a small town in Massachusetts, three bus stops in Santa Fe, a large collaborative sculpture for a plaza in Cuenca, Ecuador, a Haiku Path in a college courtyard and the four-year traveling international installation "Birds in the Park”.
Hengst’s studio work explores relationship with the landscape, self and other. Her mixed media paintings often include text; recently, ripped up zen books. She draws on experience with many materials and techniques, including various forms of printmaking, oil painting and glazing, and encaustic. Hengst’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums locally, nationally and internationally.
2020 Orientation and Encounter, Mountain Cloud Zen Center, Santa Fe, NM
2019 New Work, Fireworks Studio, Santa Fe, NM.
2013/14 Birds in the Garden, Santa Fe Botanical Garden, Santa Fe, NM.
2011 Birds at the Museum, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO.
2008-2013: Birds in the Park: traveling public art project, international, landing in 75 locations.
2007 Relationships, IX Bienal de Cuenca, Casa de los Arcos, Cuenca, ECUADOR.
2006 Running on Full, Museum of Fine Arts, Las Cruces, NM.
Sealed in Wax, Box Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
2005 Selado en Cera, Museo de Arte Moderno, Cuenca, ECUADOR.
Versiegelt in Wachs, BBK-Galerie, Aachen, GERMANY.
2003 Cave, Box Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
New Work from Christy Hengst, Basiste Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
2015 Axle Indoors at Peters Projects, Santa Fe, NM
2014 Armory Show, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM.
SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM.
2013 Wendover Landing, (3 person show) 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM.
2010 100 Künstler-100 Kacheln, Couven Museum. Aachen, GERMANY.
Heart This!, Jay Etkin Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
2009 Waning and Waxing, Zane Bennett Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
Metamorphosis, Haydon Art Center, Lincoln, NE.
Encaustic Works ’09, R&F and The Castle Gallery, New Rochelle, NY.
2008 Site Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM.
2007 Loosely Joined, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM.
Creamy Goodness, Salon Mar Graff, Tesuque, NM.
Sticks and Stones, Lauryn Taylor Fine Art, Carmel, CA.
Seed Catalog, Bridge Art Fair, Chicago, IL.
2006 Site Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM.
Gallery Artists, Julie Baker Fine Art, Nevada City, CA.
2004 Ausstellende Künstlerin, Galerie Stricker, Aachen, GERMANY.
Selections, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM.
2003 Box Gallery Group Show, Box Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
2002 True Colors, Meridian International. Washington D.C. (on tour with stops chronologically in New York, NY; Palm Beach, FL; Atlanta,GA; Ankara, TURKEY; Istanbul, TURKEY; Berlin, GERMANY; Portadown, IRELAND; Belfast, IRELAND; Tirania, ALBANIA; Bratislava, SLOVAKIA; Dallas, TX, and Biloxi, MS.
2001 Sculpture Show, College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM.
1998 International Ceramics Public Art Exhibition, Taipei Cultural Center, Taipei,
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